It is very rare to see a tanto (small short sword) made during the Heian period. Middle Kamakura period, a large number of wonderful tanto were made. They were called takenoko-zori shape. Takenoko means bamboo shoot. The back of the dagger curves inward slightly.
Sugata (shape)———-Hirazukuri , it means no shinogi, no yokote line, as you see above illustration. Standard tanto size is about 10 inches. The width is not too wide not too narrow. The Body is slightly thick. High Gyo-no-mune (行の棟) and Shin-no-mune (真の棟)
Hamon (刃文) —————- Tempered area is narrow. Nioi base. Irregular straight line(suguha midare) or straight line with small choji (suguha-choji). Tempered edge line may show a frayed look.
Boshi(tempered line at Kissaki area) ———Yakizume. Kaen. Niekuzure
Engravings (彫刻 ) ———- Often different kinds of engravings are done at the lower part of the body of Tanto. They are groove (double or single), Sanskrit, spear(Suken), dragon, etc,. For Sanskrit and spear, look at the illustration inside Chapter 9.
Tanto Swords Smiths during Middle Kamakura Period
Awataguchi group(粟田口)———————————–Awataguchi Yoshimitu (粟田口吉光 )Rai group (来) ——————————————————————–Rai Kunitoshi(来国俊)Soushu Group (相州) ——————————————-Shintougo Kunimitu (新藤五国光)Bizen group (備前) ———————————————————Bien Kagemitu (備前景光)Bungo no Kuni Group (豊後の国) ———————-Bungo-no-kuni Yukihira (豊後の国行平)